Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Sharksucker

This is a non-knitting post that will be most likely be totally uninteresting to anyone without an iPad. I felt obliged to blog about this cool little keyboard case because it's entirely obscure and deserves a little press. If you google Sharksucker, you'll be directed to (a) a Wikipedia article about remoras, (b) a bunch of websites that have no actual information about this keyboard case, or (c) a Chinese site written by the Sharksucker creators and translated into foggy English. What you will not find are any genuine reviews, comments, or even press releases about it anywhere else on the Internet besides the developers' own website.

Let me backtrack a bit here and say that when I bought my iPad last fall, I also purchased a Zagg keyboard case to go with it. In general, I like the case. It's solid and the keyboard itself is excellent. However, I was not in love with it for several reasons. First, once the iPad is inserted into the case, you can't get it out without a real struggle. That means that if you want to use portrait mode, charge the keyboard, or just grab the iPad to do a little bedtime reading, you're out of luck.

Second, the Zagg is limited to a single angle, and it's not a good angle for me--it's tilted too far back. This was a real problem for reading in bed, because I had to hold the iPad forward in an upright position with one hand. Third (and fourth), there's no wrist rest and the indicators are between the rear of the iPad and the case itself, so I had to poke my nose into the little space to see what the lights were showing. Finally, the Zagg case is heavy. I don't have the specs on me, but I would guess that it adds a half a pound of weight to an already zaftig device.

So I went on a hunt for another keyboard case that would address all these complaints. I watched more than a dozen videos and perused an equal number of "Best Keyboard Cases" reviews. Every case had a drawback, and I wasn't going to plop down another wad of cash for something that solved some, but not all, of my quibbles.

Thus, when I ran across the YouTube video for the Sharksucker, I was entranced. The video itself is, um, well, you just have to watch it yourself. It somehow amalgamates a commercial for feminine hygiene products with a cheap cruise advertisement. That is to say, there's a flower-filled field, drinks with paper umbrellas, beautiful ladies, and a great deal of hyperbolic voice-over.


However, they keyboard case itself seemed to be exactly what I was looking for. Considering that the price started at $169, was marked down to $99, and then when I actually placed the order, the cost appeared as $ could I resist?

It took about a week to arrive, and I have to say that I am impressed with it after using it for two days. I first had to extricate my iPad from the Zagg, which took about five minutes of prying, tugging, and cursing, and I broke a fingernail, too. I then plugged the Sharksucker into my laptop to charge it, which took about an hour. As you can see from the photo, the Sharksucker (where the heck did that name come from anyway?) can prop the iPad in either the landscape and portrait position by just picking up the tablet and plopping it into the brackets in either orientation.

It has a wrist rest. Because the iPad snaps into the brackets magnetically, the entire unit is solidly mated, but it's somehow still easy to pluck the tablet out in the evenings for bedtime reading. The angle is much better for me, and it's somewhat adjustable, although it doesn't tilt back very far.

The case is handsome, lightweight milled aluminum and feels sturdy and well-made. The keyboard is easy to type on, the keys themselves feel crisp and not mushy, and there are Page Up/Down/Home/End keys, which are missing from the Zagg. I do a lot of word processing with my iPad, and I really missed those keys. The Zagg does have Cut/Copy/Paste keys, but I use keyboard shortcuts instead, so those were a waste of key functions for me.

The only complaint with the Sharksucker keyboard is that the right shift key is too small and too far to the right, but I will adjust to it. My pinkie needs the exercise, anyway. Here are the two keyboards, so you can see the differences. The Sharksucker is above, the Zagg below.

Finally, according to the documentation, one charge of the keyboard battery will last for six months at a rate of two hours of use a day. The battery itself can be used to charge either the iPad itself or another device by plugging them into one of the two USB ports on the side of the keyboard. And there are little rubber bumpers to prevent the iPad from resting on the keyboard keys when the assembly is closed. True, this case, unlike the Zagg, doesn't protect the back of the iPad, which means that the unit has to be inserted into a sleeve to protect it from scratches when transporting it. A bubble-wrap baggie works fine.

I have to say that the JSXL Tech website makes for plenty of giggle-reading. For example, here are a few highlights of the Sharksucker:
  • The unique magnetic suction technical design can firmly suck Apple iPad.
  • Sharksucker adopts flip design,and then enables folding-closing.
  • Adopts high quality chocolate keyboard makes itself tidy and clean on vision.
The formatting on the website is pretty lame and the English is even lamer, but it contains a wealth of inexpensive Android tablets that actually are a good buy if you need a cheapo unit for the kids. There are also unlocked global smart phones and tons of keyboards, with or without a case, at very reasonable prices. And they actually respond to emails!


Nicolette said...

Hi, couldn't sleep last night, so I read your post. Very useful. I had been wanting a stan for my ipad to make it easier to view a technique on YouTube or read a pattern i'm knitting from goodreader. I also wanted a keypad so I wouldn't have type with one finger. This looks great. So I have ordered it. Look forward to its arrival. Thank you. I bought my ipad in November as an early Xmas present. Love it.

Stripeyspots said...

They had me at chocolate keyboard...
I have some sort of red leather case for my ipad with the same squishy keyboard. Not great, but I have trouble saying 'no' to red.

Laura Sue said...

Well, darn it! I didn't even know I needed a keyboard/case for my Samsung Galaxy. Sure enough, they have a very nice one. You're worse than advertising!

ripple said...

You're a year too late for me, but this looks much better than my behemoth Kensington keyboard with case. Mine is a brick when the ipad weight is added.

Unknown said...

what is the color of the indicator (below the battery figure) when the keyboard charges? i bought one and the manual says that it is a blinking green when charging but all i get is a steady red light on the indicator. just want to compare. thanks :)

Unknown said...

thanks for the review!
i've been wanting to get one for a long time now.. but wasn't sure if it was good or not due to lack of proper reviews..
I so should have got one when it was on sale at $69! lol i so missed out :(
I probably will buy one soon :) thanks!

Unknown said...

I am so glad I found this blog. I went on the same drawn out hunt for a decent keyboard. Even bought a ClamCase Pro as well as the Zagg Fleegle spoke of.
I found the same YouTube video of the Sharsucker and was myself, entranced.
Several friends have wanted to see consumer reviews and I couldn't direct them anywhere helpful.
Thank thank you thank you.

@Jullan...when mine is charging a red light comes on over the battery icon and goes off when fully charged. I read the same thing you did about a blinking green light but don't have it either.
I love how with a full charge you can fully charge an iPhone to full power or get 6 hours when using it to charge your ipad.
I must say the power reserve bank is my favorite feature. I'm I college and do an extensive amount of word processing and its helpful not to have to stop when the ipad runs out if juice. Just plug it in a pull some power from the keyboard.

If anyone is in doubt and looking for a good BT keyboard, you WILL NOT be let down by the Sharsucker.
The ClamCase Pro is amazing and fancy but if your like me and just wanna be able to grab the ipad by itself for a quick game or reading, the Sharsucker is for you. Pops in and out with EASE!
*typed using my Sharsucker*

Anonymous said...

I looked at the site JSXL and I'm interested in knowing where did you order yours from? I ask because its 80 on JSXL. I look forward to your response.

KL said...

Hello, I and fascinated by this device as well. After the last 5 months.. How is your sharksucker holding up? I am interested in the durability of the magnetic attachments.... Do you think they have or will weaken so the ipad falls out? I plan to use mine for very vigiorious airline travel and would really appreciate your opinion on its durability and longevity.
Thank you!

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